May 23rd, 2006
|09:46 am - ye cats and little children|
Cedar Fair has announced it is acquiring Paramount Parks to the tune of $1.24 billion.
Paramount Parks owns Kings Island in Ohio (as seen on The Brady Bunch), Kings Dominion in Virginia, Carowinds on the North/South Carolina border, Great America in the Bay Area, and Canada's Wonderland in Toronto.
Cedar Fair started out as an unholy alliance between Cedar Point in Ohio and Valleyfair! in Minnesota. Well, ok, maybe it wasn't unholy, but it's always fun to say "unholy alliance." Later on, Cedar Fair acquired Knott's Berry Farm, Dorney Park in Allentown PA, Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Michigan's Adventure in Alabama (no, Michigan, what do you think?!) and, recently purchased from Six Flags, good ol' Geauga Lake near Cleveland.
That means there's now four major amusement chains in the US: Disney, Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and bringing up the rear, Busch Gardens. (Kennywood's got holdings but, let's face it, it's not a major player.) Not only that, but Cedar Fair now owns the three major parks in Ohio. Things just got a lot more interesting.
|Date:||May 23rd, 2006 02:05 pm (UTC)|| |
Speaking of Cedar Point, I haven't been since I was a kid growing up in Cleveland.. I bet it's still the best park out there.
I remember Cedar Point, and Geauga Lake, too.
Oh, it is. My California-born boyfriend agrees with me, and he's seen some serious amusement parks.
Wow -- Kings Island and Cedar Point were always big rivals for the Columbus market when I lived there. Wonder if they'll start advertising jointly now.
Maybe Cedar Fair will actually not feel the need to name every ride in Canada's Wonderland after Paramount movies! This could be a glorious moment!
(But then I LOVE Valleyfair and I was hoping that Canada's wonderland would be the same, alas.)
No kidding. Seeing "TOP GUN" etc. everywhere was just a bit annoying. Although it was funny that the ride with a height restriction (i.e. if you're over 6'2" you can't ride) was named after a Tom Cruise movie.
You must be THIS Clear ----> to ride. Snap! Snap!
Oh, that's brilliant.
Aah, I didn't know they'd bought that many... I heard on the news that they got Canada's Wonderland.
I've only ever been there once (with my highschool physics class and a bunch of handmade accelerometers), so I don't know how much of the park changes with ownership.
Now, of these, Six Flags and the expanded Cedar Fair both have many many locations. Disney has just two (though they're biggies) -- Orlando and Anaheim. Busch Gardens also has only two.
Don't forget - Disney also has parks in Paris and Tokyo... and the Cruise Lines with their own private island...
And Hong Kong...
Additionally, as far as Disney goes, their strength lies not in numbers, but as a brand. And the Orlando resort has four whole theme-park-sized parks, and Anaheim has two, and Paris has at least two or three by now, and two in Tokyo...
The Japanese parks are actually owned by a yakuza front known as the "Oriental Land Company" who pays tons of cash to Disney for use of their intellectual properties and for the imagineers.
And isn't it nice to have a company with deep pockets funding your ideas? Even if the hand that's reaching into said deep pockets is missing part of the pinky?
This is the first time I've heard of Kennywood. What do they own?
Doesn't Anheuser-Busch also own Sea World? That's three more parks right there, and the original San Diego park has gotten much more into amusement (motion-control rides, 3-D movies, even a Clydesdale barn to show off the horses) since they were taken over. No coasters, though, if that's your main criterion for an amusement chain.
Oh, there's a few coasters at some Sea World locations. Orlando has Kraken, a nice B&M floorless, and Journey To Atlantis, a wicked awesome combo coaster/boat splash ride. And the Busch pass covers all the parks, so it does help them in the park count. But I maintain overall park count doesn't entirely determine a chain's prestige and ranking. Disney's still the 700-pound gorilla of the theme park world despite having fewer parks than Six Megalomaniacal Flags, see. It's all in the brand and reputation.
You get all that stuff through attendance. Disneyland (not even California's Adventure) puts as many people through the turnstiles as Cedar Point, Worlds of Fun, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, and Canada's Wonderland combined. That's the big gap that makes Disney the king of the mountain.
I didn't realize that about Busch. It's not obvious from the front page of BuschGardens.com . But once I click on "Buy Tickets", I see that they own three Sea Worlds, plus a Discovery Cove, an Adventure Island, a Water Country (not the one in New Hampshire), and a Sesame Place.
There's still some. They put in a giant interactive Scooby-Doo dark ride a year or so back, where you ride through a Haunted Mansion in Mystery Machines, zapping ghosts and "scoring" Scooby Snacks with light guns. There's also a "Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera" motion simulator ride which the park got from Universal Studios.
Sadly, Smurf Mountain was gutted a long time ago and the Smurfs sent packing. However, the replacement ride in the mountain structure is a pretty bitchin' LIM-launched inverted roller coaster. It's not blue, though.
I keep hoping that Kennywood and Dollywood will join forces to create "Islands in the Stream of Adventure." But my fantasies of amusement park greatness will probably never be realized.
Ruby, don't take your ride tickets to town.
Everyone considered him the coward of the carney,
He'd never ride a single ride to prove the carney wrong;
His mama named him Tommy, but folks just called him yellow,
Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong.
He was only ten years old when his daddy died on the Cyclone,
I looked after Tommy, cause he was my brother's son,
I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy,
"Son, my ride is over, but yours has just begun,
Promise me son, not to ride the rides I've done--
Walk away from coasters if you can,
It won't mean you're greenthey make you shit your jeans,
I hope you're old enough to understand,
Son you don't have to ride to be a man."
Well played, Mr. Cwabs, well played.
I remember when Kings Island was bought by Paramount, they changed the Smurf ride to some stupid haunted house and that was my favorite ride ever as a kid (until I was tall enough to ride the backwards Racer, then that was #1 for a long time).
I haven't been in probably 5 years and it's a 40 minute drive. I suck. But you should come and ride the Beast with me!!